Thursday, September 29, 2016

Get out and vote!

I am good to go.

I have never voted in the United States before but the time has come to change that!

The process has been surprisingly easy even for someone like me who had never registered to vote before. It took filling out a form online, two e-mails to the Board of Elections in my county due to some doubts about my last address of residency - you don't want know how many decades ago - a phone call to a very kind clerk on the other end of the pond and a week later my ballot arrived in the post this morning.

So, wherever you may live in the world: are you ready to vote?

My personal absentee ballot received this morning.

To New York with love from Paris, France

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Who is the OSA

This year, the Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA) is celebrating its centenary. Yes, that would be 100 years of working on behalf of the Swiss Abroad. Taking the title of "Switzerland – part of the world" the anniversary year is looking back at the OSA's history with the aim of focusing on the current and future needs of our fellow citizens worldwide.

The Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA) devised and created in 2010. Its aim is to strengthen the link between the Swiss abroad and Switzerland.

SwissCommunity is a free, high-quality platform serving the Swiss all over the world. It is a “club” for international Switzerland, designed and tailored to meet the needs of Swiss people worldwide. You can find and exchange current information, news and events, discuss, ask questions and get answers as well as explore Switzerland online.

One of the tasks of the Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA) is defending the "Fifth Swizerland" and is, in effect, one of the raisons d'être of the OSA since its creation in 1916.

The theme of this issue of the Swiss Community magazine is to look back at the centenary celebrations that took place in Berne on 5-7 August 2016.

Swiss Community online magazine 3/16

I wish you happy reading and sign up if you live abroad and wish to stay in touch about what is happening in Switzerland.

The Swiss Abroad were asked to shoot a video greetings message to celebrate 100 years of the Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA). The resulting video with all the messages that were sent in was shown during the jubilee festivities on Bundesplatz.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Made me smile today...

Audrey's back... as a chocoholic!

The Breakfast At Tiffany’s star has been brought back to life with CGI technology for Galaxy's latest ice cream advert which is set in the 1950s on Italy’s Amalfi Coast. It's amazing to see how far we've come with computer generated photography and film.

This definitely made me smile today.

Have a great weekend, hopefully with lots of ice cream!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Explore the land of chestnut trees

The chestnut tree trail winds through the woods and explores the land of chestnut trees! Besides revealing woods, crops, chestnut trees, the trail accompanies you through pleasant surroundings and a harmonious landscape where nature stands out in all its splendour.

The itinerary offers you several panoramic spots and the possibility of admiring the architectural details of certain picturesque villages that this very special excursion joins together. Several didactic points, simply marked on the ground and amply illustrated in a separate brochure, may be found along the way. You can even cover just short legs of this trail.

Join the local tradition and pick some chestnuts along the way for arts and crafts. Have fun!

Difficulty: easy
Km: 11
Elevation difference: 215 m
Duration: 4-5 h
Itinerary: Arosio-Mugena-Vezio-Fescoggia-Breno-Caroggio-Arosio
Important: All of the locations along this path may be reached by using public transportation.
For more info click here:

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

A date with the mycological society of Lugano

It is a Swiss tradition to go mushroom picking in the woods. But how to tell the good ones from the bad ones?

Well, one way is to bring them to your local pharmacy. Yes, mushroom selecting is just one of the many services a pharmacist is trained to do in Switzerland. Click here for the list:

You could also attend a lecture at the local school of Montagnola where a mushroom specialist will explain and show you the good ones from the bad ones for adult and kids!

Adriano Sassi who speaks Italian, French and English is a VAPKO expert and president of the Scientific Society Commission. He will lecture on the following themes:

• What are mushrooms?
• Observe to determine
• Main species and their habitats
• Mushrooms: their shape, habitat and growth.

Adriano Sassi will answer questions from the audience. You can bring your mushroom collection and have them checked by an expert.

Venue: Ticino's mushrooms
Where: Centro Scolastico Montagnola, Aula Magna,  6926 Montagnola
Date: Thursday, September 29th, 2016
Time: 20:00
The event is free!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Switzerland through the eyes of an Expat

It is true that the Swiss can be a little private, reluctant to become friends with foreigners but once they DO become your friend it is for life!

For more info click here.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

14 more Swiss fun facts

1.) The Rolex Company invented the first waterproof watch in Switzerland in 1927.

2.) The global watch industry is dominated by few countries, mainly Switzerland and China. China is the world’s top watch producer in terms of unit volume, but 99% are inexpensive, quartz watches. In the luxury segment Switzerland enjoys a near-monopoly position.

3.) Famous Swiss cheese products are Gruyere, Emmental and Appenzeller.

4.) Gruyère cheese comes from a village in Switzerland called Gruyères. There are allegedly 75 different Alpine scents in the cheese, including vanilla, orchid, violet, chestnut, mint, wood shavings, hazelnuts and fresh grass among them. Two-thirds of Gruyère production is consumed in Switzerland; the European Union and North America eat the rest.

5.) Dalai Lama owns the smallest vineyard in the world, which is located in Switzerland. It consists of only three vines and has an area of 1.67 square meters.

6.) In Switzerland, there are more banks then dentists.

7. ) The first ever youth hostel, established to protect the travelers from bandits, has been operating in the Swiss Alps for nearly 1'200 years.

8.) Teaching is one of the highest paid occupation with the most vacation time: 12 weeks!

9.) Swiss businessman Jean-Henri Dunant also known as Henry Dunant was the founder of the International Committee of the Red Cross, received the very first Nobel Peace Prize in 1901.

10.) Swiss mailboxes have two slots – one for letters, and one for packages.

11.) In Switzerland, it is permissible to lease a cow, and during the duration of the lease, you get to keep all the cheese that is made from that cow’s milk.

12.) In Switzerland, it is illegal to keep just one guinea pig; they must be kept in pairs.

13.) The world’s largest meringue was baked in 1985 in Frutal, Switzerland. It consisted of 2500 eggs and 120 kg of sugar, and it had to be baked in specially adapted sauna and was then served with 80 liters of cream. It was polished off by locals in less than 3 hours.

14.) Charlie Chaplin’s corpse was stolen by a small group of Swiss mechanics in an attempt to extort money from his family. After retrieving his body, he was reburied under 1.8 meters of concrete to prevent further attempts.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Mondo Bimbi a Lugano

Given the weather forecast which does not bid well, why not check out play areas, arts & crafts activities, labs, workshops and commercial stands for children and family at MondoBimbi?

MondoBimbi is for parents-to-be, Mums and Dads, Grannies and Grandpas as well as for everyone who is looking for new ideas about children.

At MondoBimbi you can find all you need to know about pregnancy, babies, toddlers, pre-schoolers and school age children.

Venue: Mondo Bimbi
Where: Centro Esposizioni Lugano, Via Campo Marzio, 6900 Lugano
Date: Friday, September 16 10:00 am - 8:30 pm
Saturday, September 17 10:00 am - 8:00 pm
Sunday, September 18 10:00 am - 7:00 pm
Price: Ticket Fr. 10.-, Children under 12 years and AVS free of charge
For more info click here:

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Oreo Cookie Cake recipe

When it comes to kids birthday partys it's the cake that makes the difference. As my daughter says: "It is not a party if there is no cake!"

For her last birthday I came up with an scrumptious recipe for her favourite cookie cake. Here goes:

For the Cake:
3/4 cup (about 3 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (about 3/4 ounce) cocoa powder
1/2 plus 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (about 4 1/3 ounces) granulated sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sour cream
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Oreo whipped cream:
50 Oreo cookies
4 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1.) Make cake: Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350°. Line bottom of a 9-inch cake pan with parchment paper and lightly coat the inside with non-stick pan spray. Sift flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt into large bowl; set aside. In medium bowl, whisk sugar, sour cream, oil, eggs, and vanilla until smooth.

2.) Whisk wet ingredients into dry ingredients until smooth. Pour batter into pan and bake until cake is just firm and toothpick inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cake cool in pan for 15 minutes, then remove from pan to completely cool on wire rack, about 1 hour.

3.) Carefully cut 6 Oreo cookies in half; set aside. Chop remaining cookies into 1/4-inch pieces; set aside.

4.) To Assemble Cake: make the Oreo whipped cream in 2 batches. In bowl of standing mixer fitted with whip attachment, whip 2 cups cream on medium-high speed to soft peak, spoon into large bowl and refrigerate. In same mixer bowl, whip remaining 2 1/2 cups cream, sugar, and vanilla to soft peak. Fold into already whipped cream.

5.) Place about 1 cup whipped cream in bowl and refrigerate until ready to decorate cake. Fold chopped Oreos into remaining whipped cream.

6.) Slice cake in half horizontally to create 2 layers. Place bottom layer on serving plate. Spread about 1/3 of Oreo whipped cream onto cake. Top with second cake layer and use remaining Oreo whipped cream to frost top and sides of cake. Chill in refrigerator for about 2 hours to allow cookies to soften.

7.) Place reserved whipped cream in pastry bag fitted with star tip (re-whisk if necessary). Pipe 12 whipped cream rosettes around perimeter of cake and garnish with reserved Oreo cookie halves. Serve.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

10 more facts about Switzerland

1.) Switzerland is the oldest neutral country in the world; it has not fought a foreign war since its neutrality was established by the Treaty of Paris in 1815.

2.) Switzerland has been an independent country since the year 1499, apart from occupation by Napoleon’s France between 1798 and 1815.

3.) In 2007, Swiss troops accidentally invaded its neighbor Liechtenstein after getting lost in a rainstorm.

4.) The Swiss Guards who protect the Vatican, in the Vatican City are dual citizens and the only Swiss citizens allowed to serve in foreign armies.

5.) Switzerland has a square flag; the only other square country flag belongs to the Vatican.

6.) The CERN particle physics laboratory near Geneva is the world’s largest research centre. Here, more than 100 meters below ground, we find the accelerator that simulates the conditions occurring fractions of a second after the big bang.

7.) In 1891, Karl Elsener invented the Swiss Army Knife after finding out the army’s knives were actually made in Germany. He wanted to create a knife that could have multiple uses and was made in Switzerland. There are over 400 different models of the Swiss Army Knife, and designs today can include an altimeter, barometer, and a computer USB memory card. It has been nicknamed “The World’s Smallest Toolbox.”

8.) The Nestlé Company, started by Henri Nestlé in 1867, buys up almost ten percent of the world’s coffee and cacao bean crops by itself annually. It also created Nescafe, the world’s first instant coffee in 1938.

9.) Every single one of the seven billion Toblerone  produced annually comes from the factory just outside the Swiss capital.

10.) Swiss chocolatier DeLafée has actually developed gold chocolate. They blended 24-karat gold dust into cocoa butter to create edible chocolate gold.

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